Understanding Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is considered one of the three deadliest cancers in women. Understanding your risk factors can help you live your healthiest life. A risk factor is something that increases your chances of developing a condition. According to Harvard Medical School, having a risk factor (or several) for breast cancer doesn't mean that a breast cancer diagnosis is unavoidable. 

Similarly, having no or few risk factors won't guarantee that you'll never get it. Surprisingly, in 50% of cases, no breast cancer risk factor was observed.

Some risk factors, like aging or genetics, aren't within our control. We can't fix or change those kinds of risk factors. However, we do have control over risk factors connected to lifestyle and habits.

Fortunately, Dr. Trevan Fischer is an expert in cancer. He understands that early detection is important, and he has extensive experience removing cancer from breast tissue. Dr. Fischer uses minimally invasive techniques and has a reputation for high-quality care. 

Am I at risk?

According to the International Journal of Biological Sciences (IJBS), early diagnosis of breast cancer is considered one of the best ways to prevent the disease from progressing. In fact, the survival rate after early detection is above 80% among developed countries. Still, risk prevention is key. Reduce your risk by creating healthy habits and taking charge of the risk factors that are in your control.

Age

Some risk factors are inescapable, such as aging. As you grow older, your risk increases, as two out of three breast cancers are diagnosed in women 55 or older. In fact, each decade increases the risk of developing breast cancer and the highest risk is after the age of 70.

Genetics

If you have a first-degree relation to someone who’s had or has cancer (mother, sister, daughter), your risk of developing breast cancer doubles. Other genetic mutations linked to breast cancer can be inherited from your father or your mother. The BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 are genes that everyone has. However, when these genes are passed down and contain mutations, the chance of you getting breast cancer increases. The BRCA genes account for 10% of all breast cancers.

Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight, especially after menopause, can reduce your chances of being diagnosed. The more fat cells that are in your body, the more estrogen you produce. Estrogen can cause some breast cancers to develop or grow. Additionally, a lack of exercise has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. Moderate or high-intensity exercise for four to seven hours per week can reduce your risk.

Smoking

For younger, premenopausal women, smoking is a high-risk habit. Researcher shows that not only does it increase your chances of getting breast cancer, but it can also cause complications for someone receiving cancer treatment. There has also been some research suggesting that secondhand smoke exposure increases your risk as well.

Menstrual history

For women who started menstruating early in life, the risk increases. Those who began having periods before the age of 12 and those who go through menopause after turning 55 years old have a higher chance of a diagnosis.

If you would like to talk to Dr. Fischer about testing or treatment plans, make an appointment today. You can call us, or book an appointment using our convenient online scheduling tool.

Author
Trevan Fischer

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